Thursday, August 27, 2020

August Reads

 It's my last month of 2020 summer reading! I know that once school begins, my reading takes a major hit. Boohoo! I read some great ones this month....all over the board in terms of genre! 

My TBR stack is getting big. Is there anything better than closing the page on a great book and having another one ready to roll?! 

1. The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine: As you know, Liv Constantine's book, The Last Mrs. Parrish was one of my very favorite books of 2018. A sister duo writes under this pseudonym and they are masters at writing twisty thrillers. This book was great! It's about a woman who gets blind-sided when her husband leaves her for a younger woman who appears to want to become her and take over her life. NOTHING is as it seems and the end had me gasping! This is Lifetime movie-ish and I am here for that! 

2. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: This is a must read book!! This book follows a young African American couple just beginning to launch into successful careers when tragedy strikes: the young man is accused of a brutal rape that he did not commit. What follows are a series of letters between the couple as they navigate this horrific reality and their new marriage is tested. Later, the husband is released but the world he left behind before prison is no longer what it once was. This is a beautiful, tragic, deep book that explores marriage, race, class, love, friendship, poverty, and policing. I devoured this book in just a few days. It is excellent. 

3. Open Book by Jessica Simpson: I have been on the library wait list for this since February! As someone who grew up in the Britney/Christina/Jessica/Mandy/98 degrees/BSB/N SYNC generation, I found this book fascinating. Jessica is SO open, vulnerable, and honest in this book. I had no idea about her struggles with addiction, her tense relationship with her dad, and how her life has been since leaving the teen pop spotlight. I even wrote down one of her quotes that I liked: "Pain is where all the tools are." She writes about how through challenging experiences, Jessica learned how to come out stronger and with better coping and life skills (Can I get an amen?!). Also: I kind of always thought John Mayer might be a tool. Status: Confirmed. (Even if I love his music) This is a great autobiography if you were a 00's teeny bopper lik me.  

4. That's My Son by Rick Johnson: The tagline for this book is, "How Moms Can Influence Boys to Become Men of Character." This book was just ok for me. I loved some of the practical lessons like positive disciplining, using biblical principles to teach lessons etc. This book seems more geared toward single moms as it emphasizes the need to find a positive male role model for your son and the unique perspectives a woman can provide for her developing son. However some of the (I believe to be unintended) sexism was not appreciated. The book seems to imply that moms can live vicariously through their sons. I can't wait to watch my son achieve his dreams....but that doesn't mean I can't achieve mine. There was also a slight "boys will be boys" section that I found problematic. There is no doubt men and women are different and have differing strengths and weaknesses, but newsflash: Men. Can. Control. Themselves. To think otherwise is offensive to both genders. Ahem, steps off soapbox. I was not anticipating this reaction to a sweet Christian book about parenting! 

5. Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner: Jennifer Weiner, popular chick lit author, shares her autobiography by diving into writing, feminism, motherhood, weight loss, dysfunctional family relationships, love, and modern life. There were a few sections I really enjoyed, particularly about Weiner's struggles to earn respect for her work in the "women's fiction" category. However, this book dragged on for me. Is it fair to say there wasn't enough "meat" here for a long autobiography? Yes, Weiner has led a very interesting life (her mother came out as a lesbian when Jennifer was an adult, she found love a second time later in life, she writes frankly about miscarriage and motherhood etc.) but this book was just sort of blah to me. I think the fact that there are a handful of essays and articles that Weiner has previously published peppered throughout proves there's not quite enough here for a whole book. 

6. The Night Swim by Megan Goldin: This book was the perfect book to round out my summer! I chose this as my August Book of the Month. This is about a host of a popular true crime podcast (already interested!) who relocates to a small coastal town to research a recent crime. Once there, she is stalked and pressured to solve an older crime. This one has shifting view points and definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. There's graphic descriptions of rape and violence, so be prepared for that. If you like Dateline, you will love this book. I love a small town with dark secrets!

That's a wrap on my August reads!
Savor Your Sparkle,

Here are my 2020 Books so far with stars by my faves---
1. The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg
2. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
3. *Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
4. Over the Top by Jonathan VanNess
5. *Teach Like Finland by Timothy D. Walker
6. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
7. *Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
9. *Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
10. Finding Chika by Mitch Albom
11. The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James
12. *Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
13. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
14. *Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
15. *True Crime Addict by James Renner
16. The Ingredients of Us by Jennifer Gold
17. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
18. Rushing Woman's Syndrome by Libby Weaver 
19. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
20. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
21. *On the Bright Side by Melanie Shankle
22. *One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
23. The First Time by Colton Underwood
24. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston 
25. *Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
26. *The Paris Hours by Alex George
27. The St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets by Annie England Noblin
28. *The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
29. Girl Logic by Iliza Schlsinger
30. *Harry Potter and the Half Bloos Prince by JK Rowling
31. *Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crossley
32. *Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin
33. The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren
34. Ghoster by Jason Arnopp
35. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
36. *One to Watch by Kate Stoyman-London
37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling
38. One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
39. *Stand All The Way Up by Sophie Hudson
40. *The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin
41. Here for It by R. Eric Thomas
42. *A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
43. The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton
44. Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman 
45. *The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine
46. *An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
47. Open Book by Jessica Simpson
48. That's My Son by Rick Johnson
49. Hungry Heart by Jennidfer Weiner
50. *The Night Swim by Megan Goldin 

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